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The WPT Foundation was at it again last weekend, raising money for a good cause.

The event was held at Citizen, a restaurant in Beverly Hills, California on Friday, October 21. Using the faces of the World Poker Tour and a group of well-known celebrities, the WPT Foundation hosted “Four Kings and An Ace” to benefit Mending Kids International.

The organization, formed in 2006, is dedicated to providing life-saving surgical care to children around the world, as well as programs that offer training and research. Children in 63 countries, including the United States, have been given surgeries for everything from congenital heart defects to scoliosis and cranial facial deformities to help them lead healthier lives. It should also be noted that Mending Kids vows to spend 95% of every dollar raised directly on the children in need.

Last weekend’s event raised enough money to support said surgical care for a couple hundred children in various parts of the world.

WPT foundation charity event

Four Kings and More

The four kings in the title of the event were the main celebrities who not only hosted the event but played in the poker tournament as well. Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Andrew Garfield, and Gene Simmons were those kings.

Gibson is the most well-known and longest performing celebrity of the group, having starred television and film since the 1970s. He is best known for movies like Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, and Braveheart. Vaughn gained popularity in the 1990s with films like Swingers and later with cult classics like Dodgeball and Wedding Crashers. Garfield has had numerous roles in the past few years but is best known for his role as Spider-Man in the films by the same name. And Simmons spent his life in music, most popularly as the co-founder and co-lead singer of the group Kiss.

Numerous other celebrities, musicians, and professional athletes attended the event as well. And they mixed and mingled at the poker tables with the likes of Erik Seidel and Scotty Nguyen, not to mention some of the faces of the World Poker Tour like Mike Sexton and Lynn Gilmartin.

Charity at the Center

Many poker charity tournaments offer prizes for the top finishers in the event, but this event was different, as it was all about the charity.

The night was open to the public, but tickets were required to ensure that the charity was the ultimate beneficiary of the event. A $500 ticket offered spectator status, which included $500 in chips and access to the blackjack and roulette tables in the faux casino, dinner, premium bar access, live entertainment, and valet parking. Those who purchased the $5,000 tickets also received poker lessons from the pros, personal concierge service, red carpet access, tickets for two spectators, and special gifts. It was also noted that the $5,000 ticket helped the lives of 20 children.

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Poker Pros Going All In for Charity

All of the money from the poker tournament buy-ins and rebuys went directly to Mending Kids. And the benefit of playing in the tournament, aside from helping the children, was to be able to play with a mix of celebrities and poker pros. All were rotated throughout the event tables so as to give everyone a chance to play with all of the big names in the room.

Mending Kids Executive Director Marchelle Sellers noted, “The funds raised from the Four Kings and An Ace Charity Poker Tourament will help Mending Kids provide life-saving surgeries to hundreds of children, and we cannot thank our donors enough for their wonderful generosity.”

With this event, the WPT Foundation eclipsed the $6 million mark for assisting with funds raised for a number of charities around the world. World Poker Tour CEO said, “Once again, poker brought together celebrities, dignitaries, and influencers for a great cause, as it continues to be one of the most fun and effective ways to raise money for critical issues worldwide.”

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.